The Great Purge or the Great Terror (Russian: Большо́й терро́р) was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union which occurred from 1936 to 1938 involving large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of “saboteurs,” imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. As many as 600,000 to 1 million were believed to have been executed by Stalin loyalists.
July 2016 – INSTANBUL, Turkey — Turkish authorities began rounding up military officers after a failed overnight coup to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that saw tanks blockading roads, soldiers fighting police and warplanes bombing the parliament in Ankara.
Promising swift retribution, Erdogan, who arrived at Istanbul’s international airport at about 6:30 a.m. local time from the Aegean coastal resort of Marmaris, blamed followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, a one-time ally-turned nemesis. “They will pay a heavy price for their treason,” he said. A group backed by Gulen condemned the coup attempt in a statement.
Generals were among more than 2,800 military personnel arrested during raids on Saturday, after clashes that left almost 200 dead, including several dozen coup plotters. Streets in the capital Ankara and Istanbul, the biggest city, were virtually deserted, with most shops shuttered. Most international flights were canceled.
The plot will likely give Erdogan, who served as prime minister for more than a decade and is the most influential figure in Turkish politics since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, more ammunition to crack down on opponents as he seeks to transform a largely ceremonial presidential post into the center of power. That quest has brought charges of growing authoritarianism and intolerance.
The Suicide Squad: Turkish soldiers are detained in Sirnak on July 16, following the attempted coup to overthrow the Islamic government. Most of them could pay for this failed coup attempt with their lives. And yes, it looks like the rebel soldiers were made to sit in the shape of the crescent moon – the symbol of Islam. Photographer: Ekrem Payan/Anadolu Agency – Getty Images
“Through putting down this coup, Erdogan’s grip on power will be further enhanced,” says Timothy Ash, a London-based strategist at Nomura International Plc. “He has yet again proven his invincibility.” Yet even as Erdogan appears confident of quashing the bloodiest effort to end his rule, the attempted coup risks fueling more instability in a country already entangled in the war in neighboring Syria as well as a conflict with Kurdish separatists at home.
As tanks rolled through the streets of the capital as well as in Istanbul, Turkey’s lira plunged as much as 6 percent against the dollar, the most since 2010. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim branded Gulen a “gang leader” during a press conference in Ankara, while deputy premier Nurettin Canikli said the government would ramp up its purge of Gulenists within government positions. “The process of clearing parallel treacherous organizations from the state will be finalized in a more rapid and efficient way,” he told the pro-government A Haber TV. “Even if they went into the tiniest veins of the state, they will be purged.”
In December 2013, Erdogan accused Gulen of being behind a corruption probe that threatened his government, and authorities subsequently removed thousands of police and judiciary officials. The two once collaborated to defang a common enemy: the secularist army that had managed to keep Islamists from power since Ataturk founded modern Turkey almost a century ago. Gulen, now in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, built a global empire to promote Turkey as a world power and, in many places, became the country’s face abroad. Now Erdogan is mobilizing the resources of the Turkish state to dismantle that message and replace it with his brand of political Islam. –Bloomberg